Well, it has been a while since I've written about a Hanayama puzzle. Do you remember back when that used to be the main kind of puzzle I wrote about? Well, I was down at Eureka a few weeks ago and got a few more Hanayamas: Cast Key and Cast Key II. I was curious as to how different they were, since they look fairly similar.
Cast Key is a difficulty level 1 out of 5, so most folks should be able to get it without too much trouble. It probably took me about 30 seconds and it took my girlfriend a minute or so, so this is a good easy one to start folks off with and get their confidence up. There are about 8 moves, but only the first part is a bit tricky. Once you get that, the rest follow fairly easily.
The finish is a nice bronze color that gives it a bit of an antique look. The movement of the pieces was nice, no issue with forcing or anything. Overall, a solid starter puzzle.
Next, I tried Cask Key II. This one is difficulty level 2 out of 5. I was interested to see how different it was, and I was a bit disappointed to find that the first 4 moves were pretty much identical. They did throw in a dead end right at the beginning, which makes it a bit tricker if you haven't seen Cast Key.
The final moves are different, and I really liked the last move that actualy frees the key. In Cast Key, the last few moves were a bit ho-hum, but this one has a nice ending.
This one has a nice shiny finish, which I liked as well. This design and finish make it a bit harder to spot which moves are possible, in Cast Key, they are fairly obvious visually.
I would suggest just getting Cast Key II rather than getting both, since Key II contains everything Cast Key has, but with a few additional details. Overall, this is a good little puzzle. It is slightly harder than Cast Key, but most folks could probably figure it out without too much difficulty.
19 hours ago